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Zum Problem des abnehmenden Kapitalertragszuwachses

Helmut Meinhold
Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv
Bd. 62 (1949), pp. 225-241
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40432307
Page Count: 17
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Zum Problem des abnehmenden Kapitalertragszuwachses
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Abstract

The law of the diminishing return of the land has been widely discussed in the last decades, both by politicians and economists. It has been quoted especially in connection with the question of over-population. That, however, is a misconception because, in modern economy, the combined yield of labour and capital is more important than the return of the land. The author is of opinion that there is no law of diminishing return for capital. He admits that there are a number of influences at work in that direction, and he undertakes a detailed analysis of such tendencies and their importance in the present situation of Western Europe and Germany in particular. If national economies with a rapidly rising population figure are to avoid the continuous decline of their standards of living, and to escape over-population, they need a capital outfit which does not merely remain constant but increases steadily. The reasons for this are, first, that an increasing population creates a progressive increase in the volume of demand; further, as soon as the agricultural section comes under the law of diminishing return the necessity will arise to employ a larger proportion of the population in industry; and finally, when such is the case, an increasing amount of capital outlay will be required to insure the necessary increase of exports, because the law of comparative cost will tend to deteriorate the international trade situation and thereby necessitate a progressive increase of capital investment for exports. The additional demand which is thus created can—ceteris paribus—only be compensated in one of two ways. Either the national return of labour per head of population will fall, creating over-population, or it will have to be increased by additional capital investments, i. e. by a progressive supply of capital.

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